The Jamie Moyer story just keeps getting more and more incredible.
Two months after the Colorado Rockies signed him to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training, the 49-year old Moyer has officially been named to the big league roster. Even more impressive, he has been selected as the team’s number two starter, as confirmed by Troy Renck of The Denver Post.
Moyer competed for a roster spot with Tyler Chatwood, Guillermo Moscoso, Alex White, and Drew Pomeranz. But he made the decision easy for Rockies’ manager Jim Tracy, posting a 2-0 record with a 2.77 earned run average in four appearances, three of them starts, in the Cactus League. His top performance came when he hurled four perfect innings against the San Francisco Giants last week.
Newly acquired Jeremy Guthrie will be the ace for Colorado, with Moyer starting the season’s second game.
If he earns the victory, he will become the oldest pitcher in the history of major league baseball to earn a win. The current record is held by Jack Quinn, who recorded his final victory at 49 years and 70 days. Moyer is currently 49 years and 132 days old.
Moyer has not pitched since 2010, when he won nine, lost nine, and posted a 4.84 ERA with the Philadelphia Phillies. He underwent Tommy John surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow in December, and worked as an ESPN analyst in 2011.
The Rockies will be the eighth team for Moyer. He has also pitched for the Chicago Cubs (1986-1988), Texas Rangers (1989-1990), St. Louis Cardinals (1991), Baltimore Orioles (1993-1995), Boston Red Sox (1996), Seattle Mariners (1996-2006), Philadelphia Phillies (2006-2010), and now Colorado Rockies (2012).
He has 267 career victories against 204 losses. His 4.24 earned run average is far from impressive but his consistency is remarkable. Moyer pitched more than 100 innings in every season from 1993 to 2010, earning an All-Star selection in 2003 and finishing in the top six of the American League Cy Young voting with the Seattle Mariners in 1999, 2001, and 2003.
His career highlight was probably the 2008 season, when he led the team in victories (16) at the age of 45, and helped pitch the Philadelphia Phillies to their first World Series title since 1980.
Moyer is the oldest pitcher to win 20 games for the first time (21 with Seattle in 2001). He is the oldest pitcher to throw a shutout (47 years old in 2010). And in a few weeks, he will undoubtedly be the oldest pitcher to record a major league victory.
The only concern for Colorado is that Jamie Moyer is not exactly the type of pitcher you want as your team’s number two starter heading into a season. He’s 49, he’s got to be considered injury-prone even though he hadn’t suffered a major injury in more than two decades, and he’s really not that effective of a pitcher.
After all, in his two career starts in Coors Field, Moyer has been hit hard. He’s allowed 11 earned runs in 11 innings, as well as a .370 opponents’ batting average.
If Moyer can stay healthy in 2012, win double-digit games and keep his ERA+ above 100, the season will have been considered a major success.
Regardless though, just making the roster for the Rockies is incredible.